Around 7.30pm this evening, there will be a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices have suddenly cried out in terror and been suddenly silenced. Well, okay, perhaps that's overstating the case. No actual inhabited world will be destroyed. But I'm sure there will be a few tears in the living room as well as the studio.
So how did we get to this? Why will so many people be upset about the demise of a television programme that at, at times, too few people have watched? Well ...
1. We all remembered Campbell Live was there. The guillotine proved to be pretty effective marketing.
2. Campbell Live got back on on form. The guillotine again. First to make their case for survival and then just because they believed in what they were doing and knew they had only a litle time left to do it, the Campbell Live team has made some great television in the past two months. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who watched last night's show and thought "They're taking this off air?"
3. Journalism in general. The original news that Campbell was facing the chop sent a ripple of shock through the local news trade. It catalysed a sense of general anxiety about the trajectory of New Zealand media. We started joking nervously about our poor career choices and wondering quietly if we might be next – or what we might be asked to do next.
4. Hosking. It's as if the host of Seven Sharp resolved to play his part by becoming the AntiCampbell. Doubtless to the chagrin of many of his colleagues, Mike Hosking's inane editorialising peaked this week in this incredible 48-second Mike's View entitled I want to see news about how happy we all are. He dismissively rattles off a list of things he doesn't want to hear about – "Too often the news is all about who's not happy, who's got ripped off, who feels hard done by, what's not fair, what's not right, who's protesting, who's complaining, who's bitching, who's been forgotten about" – that's essentially the checklist an old-fashioned chief reporter might give a young cadet on day one. News doesn't mean what Mike thinks it means. But neither does he understand happiness. We're not happy because everything is perfect. We manage to be happy even though it isn't. That's the miracle of it. But anyway, welcome to the future of editorial, on every platform.
So it's understandable that that we aren't necessarily in the mood to be reassured about the fresh upheavals announced yesterday at Fairfax. But it's not all bleak. Because this excellent thing appeared this week. A New Hope is among us ...